Warrender 17-year-old Craig Benson pulled off a huge shock in the new London Aquatics Centre when he qualified for the Olympics with a brilliant swim in the 100 metres breaststroke at the British Gas British Championships.
The James Young High School sixth year pupil will now be back at the pool as a member of Team GB at the end of July – and he could hardly believe it after finishing second in a best-ever time of one minute 47 seconds.
“This is absolutely amazing and I’m still in shock,” said the Livingston youngster who is coached by Laurel Bailey at Edinburgh’s Warrender Club and first came to the fore when he won the World Junior Championship in Peru last year.
“I know I am good under pressure and I went in thinking I could do it. But I don’t think it has sunk in yet that I’m actually going to be back here in five months’ time swimming in the London Olympics.”
Benson finished second behind British record holder Daniel Sliwinski (1:00.09) and became the third Scot to make into Team GB. Hannah Miley (400m individual medley) and Robbie Renwick (400m freestyle) qualified on Saturday.
But while Benson celebrated, Glaswegian Michael Jamieson and Edinburgh’s Kris Gilchrist will have to wait until the 200m breaststroke to try and make the British line-up. Jamieson took the bronze medal in the 100m in 1:00.50, with Gilchrist fifth in 1:01.50.
Edinburgh University’s Kerry Buchan won her semi-final of the 100m breaststroke and the experienced Scot is hoping to make it to her first Olympics. Four years ago, a car accident prior to the trials hit her hopes.
But she made sure of a place in tonight’s final with a time of 1:09.16 – the third fastest overall behind teenager Sophie Allen (1:08.44) and Kate Haywood (1:08.46). Edinburgh University’s Corrie Scott just missed out on the final. She was ninth fastest in 1:10.61.
In the 200m freestyle, Renwick (1:47.25), Jak Scott (1:48.55) and David Carry (1:48.61) were the three Scots that comfortably made it through the semi-finals and will be chasing individual and relay places this evening.